Hispanic Heritage month, or what many of us prefer to refer to as Latinx Heritage Month, kicked off on Tuesday, September 15, and runs until October 15. It’s not only a time to recognize and celebrate the culture, contributions, influence, and achievements the Latinx community has had on the United States, but it’s also a time to dive into our history and tell our unique stories. In fact, in honor of these stories, Instagram has partnered with a few Latinx artists to launch some exciting features including the social media platform’s Latinx Heritage Month stickers and AR effects, which you can access within their Instagram Stories.
The new Instagram stickers were designed by three Latinx artists including Camila Rosa, Dia Pacheco, and Gabriela Alemán. If your Instagram is up to date, you’ll be able to see the new effects. All you have to do is open the app, swipe left to access your stories, and then click on the sticker icon where you can search “Latinx” and they’ll appear as the first three stickers on the top. You can then add the stickers to your story — we highly suggest tagging the artists as well. As for the AR effect, just swipe through the filters and effects and search “Highlight by Instagram” and it pops up. Both the stickers and AR effects are available from now until October 15th.
But before you open up your Instagram to play with these new and fun features, we highly recommend you get to know the genius creatives behind these designs. We got to chat with Instagram’s featured Latinx artists themselves on how they each use their social media platforms to bring their Latin-inspired art to life, as well as, what went behind the vision for the stickers — check them out!
The illustrator and visual artist who hails from Brazil, went to design school after high school, where she started working as a product designer at a company in her hometown designing trophies. After three years she found herself gravitating towards street art. Rosa kicked off her artistic career in 2010 with a female street art collective. She has since done work that has been seen everywhere from the streets, in art exhibitions, magazines, books, along with a number of other mediums. The main theme behind a lot of her work is to support and educate folks around the world as a means towards social change. She’s worked for a number of well-known brands including Apple, Nike, Spotify, Adidas, The Wall Street Journal, WeTransfer, and many more.
“Being an illustrator from Latin America definitely influences me a lot. I lived in NYC in 2016 and 2017 and only there did I realize that Latin America has a huge influence on my work,” she tells HipLatina. “The strength and hope of Latin-American people definitely is something that inspires me a lot. Brazil is a country in construction and we have a lot of structural problems. I always try to use my work as a reminder of what kind of country I want for the future.”
On the inspiration behind her Instagram designs:
“The resilience of the Latin-American people — especially womxn! Our land is blessed with nature and many beautiful places and even with structural problems, we fight for a better future. We don’t give up. We don’t have the option to give up,” she says. “Firstly, I always wanted to work with Instagram, so it was one of those dream clients. Latinx Heritage Month is a very special period and it was an honor for me to be on this project and finally, to have my work spread to a lot of people is amazing!”
On Why Diversity in the art world is so crucial especially today:
“I think it’s very important to have diversity in the art world because we need to change the way the art scene works. We all know that white men have all the privileges since ever in the art world and I think this has to change,” she says. “So the more diverse we are, the safer and open the art world becomes. The art world needs to be a space where people feel safe to express themselves.”
The graphic designer, illustrator, and freelance tattoo artist moved to Mexico City at 23-years-old to pursue her creative career dreams. She worked as an illustrator for four years in advertising agencies before deciding to go freelance. Her work is inspired by Mexican folklore’s most iconic elements, including everything from “real-life situations, humor, stories, and personal tastes.” Mexican culture, including the mercados in Mexico City, deeply influences her drawings.
“I realized the inspiration was around me the whole time. My Mexican culture has a lot to do with it, so I began to take references and merge them with my personal tastes, with social causes, etc,” Pacheco tells HipLatina. “I did not want to make the typical Mexican art. I wanted my culture to be seen in my pieces but from a more contemporary point of view and share it with the world. Through my art, I continue learning about my culture and the importance of diversity, inside and outside of Mexico.”
On what she wants folks to understand about her art:
“Through time Latinx people have identified through certain clothes, characters like Frida Kahlo, food, hats, etc. I want to expand people’s minds further. I also want people to feel connected to the message of the illustration in how they see fit. For some, it will simply brighten their day with a little color and shapes. Each one will have an interpretation,” she says. “I consider this month important as it celebrates the contributions and achievements of Latinx people from all walks of life. The month also promotes the values of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity while speaking against racism and discrimination because, in the end, we are all the same race.”
The half Salvadorian and half Nicaraguan illustrator, visual artist, writer, and organizer was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District and creates works that both explore her experiences as a first-generation, queer daughter of Central American immigrants while bringing visibility to the Central American diaspora. She’s a self-taught artist whose introduction to art literally began when she was a child. “My mom would thrift comic books for me to read and that all the bright and bold graphics, when combined, had the ability to tell stories. I found lots of inspiration from the imagery and power of comic books and they continue to inform my practice to use my work to tell and shape narratives.” Alemán’s work often includes boldly-colored graphics that highlight Latininad, with subjects ranging from folklore dancers to even reimagined cultural iconography — not often found in mainstream culture or art.
“Being Latinx has also meant that institutionally, I have limited access to garner the same opportunities and access as some of my counterparts. It’s meant independently carving out and advocating for avenues that are accessible,” she tells HipLatina. She wants people to understand that one of the biggest elements of pride and causes for celebration within the Latinx Diaspora is our diversity.
“Since posting, I’ve received countless messages asking me if the center figure is of a girl or a boy, and I’ve shared the piece is of a non-binary figure. Especially with COVID-19, protests, political turmoil and calls to actions across Latin America right now, it can rightfully so be hard for many to be in a celebratory mood and I found it important to use this opportunity to center, celebrate, and honor community members who traditionally and culturally are not,” she says.
On why this partnership with Instagram is so important to her: “Instagram is where I began sharing my work years ago. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to art school and traditional art spaces have historically made it inaccessible for artists like me to participate but Instagram served as a place where I could unapologetically carve out a space for myself and my work,” she says. “This partnership was very humbling because it made me proud to not only participate and provide visibility as a Nicaraguan/Salvadoran artist, but to also represent the neighborhood I was born and raised in — San Francisco’s Mission District. The Mission is a predominately Latinx Neighborhood facing gentrification and with so much erasure of the community I knew growing up, it has been humbling to provide a local representation I didn’t have growing up on a global platform like Instagram.”